Monday, July 10, 2017

The miracle of the little cauliflower plant

     Having enjoyed gardening this summer, here is the miracle of the cauliflower plant. Its interesting that the Bible starts with GOD creating man and a woman in the garden of Eden. And just before Jesus is captured, he spends time in the garden of Gethsamane. And he tells a number of parables regarding the seeds, trees, the farmers, etc. Its safe to assume that garden is a place where one may find GOD and his deeds. For real? I did.
     Nearly 45 days ago, I visited the Home Depot garden center looking for plants for our garden. And I decided to test out the cauliflower plants. So, I picked out a set of 6 plants with 4 leaves each. A couple of days later, I prepared pots and started transferring them into 6 pots. Then, I realized that one of them was broken right at the tip. All that was left of it was the roots and a single leaf.  I could well have thrown it away and been happy with 5 cauliflowers this year. But, then I would have missed out on a lifetime miracle. So, I planted the broken plant thinking that in a few days it would just rot and I would just put in another plant. Days passed and the other 5 plants grew bigger. The 4 little leaves wilted and dried as they had bigger and newer leaves and I waited for the cauliflowers. A week ago I saw the little cauliflower in all the 5 good plants. I felt great. Then, I looked for the little cauliflower plant and I still found that one leaf standing firm. That plant had lived for nearly 40 days and I continued to water and care for it the same way I did for others. Many a time, I did think about throwing it away. I knew that there was no hope for any cauliflower. The tip had broken. There was no chance for this plant. But, somehow, I never got down to pulling it out and throwing it away. And the plant with that little leaf just refused to die away on its own either.
     Well, July 9th was approaching. Little Claire’s birthday was close. And we were also celebrating my dad’s secret 75th birthday. We had planned a little party and I had to welcome guests. I needed a theme for my welcome. I was not getting it. So, on July 7th, I walked around in the garden and I was rearranging my pots. And I came to the little plant in the pot. Before I saw it, I planned to throw away everything that was not good because I wanted the garden to look pretty for the party. So, this time I was determined that this little plant should go. And then I looked into the pot. And there I found my miracle.

     What I found were 4 little cauliflower plants emerging out from the soil. There was no chance this could have happened. I am a botanist by the way. So, I know my science too. A cauliflower plant can only have one cauliflower. And it grows from the tip. I was so ecstatic. I showed my little kids and they were amazed. And we talked about what it meant. That’s when I realized the beauty of the miracle and the gardens in the bible. I drew many conclusions. The one I used in the party was that the little leaf represented my father. His 75 yrs, where many a time he was a lonely leaf. But, he had hung on. And then his perseverance had taken fruit. And we were now celebrating his 75th birthday with his lovely grand kids.
     But, I want to go beyond it. The little plant represented our faiths too sometimes. They are tiny and shaky, sometimes completely insignificant. But, if we hang on, look how GOD, the gardener tends to us. He gives fruits aplenty. This little plant also represents each of our lives too. Sometimes, we are the leaf and somebody else is the gardener who tends to us, keeps us alive. Sometimes, we need to be the gardener for somebody else who is hanging on.  Frankly, its been 3 days since I realized this miracle in my garden. But, there is one reality that I just can’t stop admiring. That little leaf. It kept that plant going. It didn’t fade away, no matter what. This story will live on forever in me. But, I want to share it with as many people I can. Because we all need miracles. And we don’t realize many a time that they don’t happen anymore. They do. They are probably right out there in the garden. And I am looking for the next one. Are you?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The sacrifice Jesus would love

          The lent was over last weekend. It had been an interesting 40 days. Personally, it was filled with anxiety, despair, anger and otherwise busy. So, now that Jesus was risen from the dead, it was probably time to relax. But, the emotions remained the same because living circumstances never changed. So, I just happened to ask my 5 yr old Claire, this Friday afternoon if she knew what sacrifice was.  She said “Yes Daddy”.  I asked her to tell me an example in her own words so that I could understand what she had understood about sacrifice. She fumbled to put her thoughts together. So, she asked me to give her an example. I told her to imagine that if I was driving near a mall on a Friday afternoon with $10 in my pocket and the theater was playing a movie I loved to see. I had 2 choices. One, to watch the movie with the 10 dollars. On the other hand, those 10$ could buy 3 cans of milk for my kids. And given the uncertainties of our jobs, that would mean those 10$ could mean 3 weeks of milk supply. And as a parent that would be a kind of sacrifice I needed to do consistently.  My 2 yr old Noah was playing around and he kept asking what we were talking about. I explained to him and moved on with Claire because she was ready with her answer. She said that if she would see a pizza and wanted to have it, she would sacrifice it. I challenged her a little further. I told her that it was more of resisting a temptation rather than a deep sacrifice. “Think of another example”. And immediately she said “If I were to see a very nice art kit in the mall and would want to pick it up. But, I won’t. Because we have so much art supplies lying around at home. So, I would wait till I had used all the art supplies at home before looking out for one”. I immediately took the opportunity to tell her that she had got the point very well. I told her that’s what businesses do all the time. That’s their job. Keep tempting us into buying things we probably don't need. And we need to think of those who are not as privileged and see what we could do for them. And then I was all happy with this conversation thinking that in spite of the amazing strife in my mind, I was able to talk about an important subject calmly to my 5 yr old. My 2 yr old was playing around and I thought he must have had no idea of what we were talking about.  And then we moved on with our day. And I had no idea of what was to come.
                The next day, which was a Saturday, I settled down after a cup of tea to get on with my project. And then in a little while both my kids came to me. The 2 yr old had a 1$ note in his hand and the 5 yr old had a 5$ note. They had been saving money in their piggy bank whenever they did an excellent job. And they are amazing. My 2 yr old gave me the 1$ and said “Here dad. We have lot of money in the piggy bank. This is for you.” The 5yr old quipped “ Daddy, you buy so many things for us. The next time you buy something, use that 1$”. And then she went to mommy who was busy getting breakfast ready and said that she was putting the 5 dollars in the box where she was saving some of her money for poor children.
                 First of all, I was all teared up. And then what had started out as a lesson for the kids had turned out to be a lesson for me. Grown-ups have a lot of moral stories to tell in theory. But when it comes to putting them in practice, we wait for the next chance to execute. What my little ones did this Saturday morning was exactly put the WORD into action. And the risen Lord Jesus must have been absolutely proud. No doubt why Jesus loved kids.